Farewell Gertrude…..Here’s What’s Next

As you all know I saw my doctor yesterday. I had a long list I needed her to give me permission to do which included exercise, go back to work, hike, fly to our vacation destination, and resume life as I knew it before Gertrude ( apparently, this is what my surgeon and my husband named my tumor after surgery) was found and removed. Well, I am happy to share with you all that I checked out good and she is allowing me to get back to life. However, she stated clearly this would be an uphill battle between wanting to do it all and fighting exhaustion for the first few weeks. Uggg, I guess you can’t have it all but something is better than nothing.

Which means I plan to go back to work in about two weeks, I will start exercising again with many limitations, and our vacation we had preplanned before all this medical stuff came about will be happening with a few changes.

First, let’s touch on work. I fully expect going back to work to be difficult. Any mother of three will know exactly where I am coming from. Caring for three kids solo of any age is not easy. I do however feel I threw their little lives, as they knew it, into a roller coaster ride and regardless of where they all found different care for the past few weeks, I feel I owe it to them to make it all good again. We had such a great routine and I will do anything I can to make the transition back easy and smooth. Thankfully they have all been here during my recovery to visit, so it won’t be a complete shock to return and see us all again.

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As for exercise, this is what helps keeps me happy and sane. I would love to jump right back into where I left off…..which will not happen for quite sometime. Being passionate and motivated by exercise is something I have learned to accept as a wonderful thing. I can be having the worst day ever and know that if I can just get myself to the gym or downstairs for a workout, I will feel so much better. Now, I do have the go ahead from my doctor to return to the gym and daily workouts. I cannot, however, do any abdominal workouts for another four weeks. At this time I can try something easy and if I experience pain, I need to wait another four weeks. This means that by summer time paddling my standup paddle board could be quite the challenge at best. Typically, our bodies of water here in WI are not quite warm enough to actually use until at least July, so that gives me about 8 weeks to condition and strengthen my core to be able to paddle my SUP again. Despite being limited to what I can do and cannot do, I will be documenting my workouts again to #1 be able to look back at for myself and #2 share with anyone else that has gone through a similar surgery and give them something to refer to in this situation.

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Briefly, I will touch on our hiking and vacation plans. We had planned to do daily hiking on this next vacation in a region that we have never visited before. Unlike our Utah vacations which are intense elevation, heat and mountainous terrain, this one should be much easier. Although, I still don’t believe I could have done a few of the hikes we had on the list, so we did ultimately plan alternate activities in place of these hikes. We do plan do do some geocaching, small hikes, and a lot of sight seeing. I have no doubt regardless of what we end up doing that it will be a well deserved break from life and a much needed vacation for my husband. He has had everything on his shoulders for the past few weeks, while I spent every day just trying to recover enough to go on this trip. So whether we hike, have a picnic on green grass, or just enjoy the break doing a whole lot of nothing, I know it will be wonderful.

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As the weather gets a bit nicer everyday and Spring inches closer and closer, I cannot wait to start hitting our local trails again. I need to start working on logging hikes for the 52 HIKE challenge I joined.

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I also can’t wait to dig out our front porch chairs and go back to having fresh sushi while enjoying the sunshine on my face.

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Eventually, we may will dust off those kayaks that did not get any use last summer after my husband sustained his back injury and do some paddling.

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To say I am looking forward to Spring with enthusiasm and excitement would be putting it mildly……the anticipation it almost killing me.

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Reader Request: Our Favorite Kayaking Gear

I sure can tell kayaking season has arrived. Lately, I have gotten a few emails asking what some of our favorite kayaking gear items are or what I would recommend. So I thought I would write about what we use and what we have found works for us during our paddling trips.

Keep in mind, we paddle mostly rivers with some whitewater involved. We have paddled lakes, although very seldom and when we do we use our recreational kayaks.

Let me also remind you that not everything listed you will find to your liking as much as we have. We have paddled now for years and have changed up our gear from time to time to adjust to our comfort while on the river.

Kayaks: We all own Jackson Kayaks. Our son has a Karma and both my husband and I own Villains. As for our reasoning to why we choose the type we did, well, honestly, we all have different likes and dislikes. I will give you my opinion and my opinion only. Safety and comfort were the big sellers for me. I LOVE the happy seat and the size of my kayak. I feel that if needed I can wet exit without any doubt, which was huge for me. (I had a little accident when we first started paddling in another kayak and will NEVER forget the feeling of being trapped underwater in a boat)

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PFD’s: We have gone through a few until finally finding our happy PFD’s. When you spend 4-6 hours in this safety device you really want to be comfortable. For us we all agreed that the Astral brand is for us. My husband and son have the same style and I wear the female version. Yes, believe it or not they make a female version that allows room for the “girls” to be comfortable also. Many of the other PFD companies have this feature also, so again, to each there own comfort. My advice to you is try them on, sit on the floor, and move your arms as you would while paddling. If you have rub zones anywhere hang it back up and try another PFD.

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Dry Bag: We have a few dry bags but the one that we like the most is from Sea Line (5L). This is the bag we take and load it up with a snack for up to 6 people, bug spray, travel size sunscreen, and my camera for every trip. It has always kept our items dry and is clear which means when we do need to open it we don’t need to rummage through everything to find what we are searching for which is very nice. It has held up for years and is still in great shape.

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Helmets: We all wear the same brand but a little different style. They are made by ProTec and were purchased through NRS. As you can see, my husbands is pretty beat up and has served it’s purpose a few times already. They are as comfortable as a helmet can be in my opinion as I am not a big fan of any helmet.

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Shoes: This is the item that we have replaced most often in the years we have been paddling. However, not due to damage, mainly due to style, and once forgetting them at the rivers edge…arggggg!  All our shoes were also purchased from NRS and for personal comfort reasons.

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Water bottles: Without a doubt I would suggest Nalgene bottles. Hook a carabiner to them and clip them behind your seat and you will have nothing to worry about. Ours have been thrown across rocks, down waterfalls, and on pavement and have never cracked yet.

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Safety Knife: My husband is the one that carries our safety knife on his PFD. Again, there are so many to choose from but we felt this knife would serve all our needs in any event where we would need to use one. Thankfully, we have never had to cut PFD straps or ropes from anyone or anything. The only thing it has cut so far is food wrappers at lunch time on the side of the river. Let’s hope it stays this way.

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Paddles: This is way to personal an item to suggest. There are so many variables to paddles that it is too hard to suggest a certain paddle to you. We all own different paddles and each of us dislikes the others for one reason or another.

That pretty much sums up what we use while on our rivers. We do carry a throw rope which can be purchased anywhere kayak supplies are sold and spray skirts are basically which ever company carries the proper size for the kayak you own. We have been very happy with the company called NRS and their customer service is beyond wonderful. I would highly suggest checking them out.

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation to any of these companies and I receive no compensation to mention or recommend them and their products to all of you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Top 10 Summer Essentials

Let’s talk about summer and some of the things I could never do without during these few months. Here in WI summer really only last about 3 months, sometimes a little more or less but for the most part 3 solid months. For me, I take advantage of every second. During these three months I have consolidated a list of my top 10 summer essentials. Let’s see how your summer essentials compare to mine.

#1 Sunscreen: I have finally found a favorite and I am sticking to it. It smells nice, actually does what sunscreen is suppose to do which is protect from sunburn, and does not feel like you are applying Elmer’s school glue to your body.

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#2 Fresh Veggies: From farmers markets, to road side veggie stands, to just stepping out in the backyard to pick our own, I cannot get enough fresh veggies.

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#3 Outdoor Exercise: Why anyone would go to a gym during the summer months to workout is beyond me. Use your imagination and get in a good sweat outside doing something fun.

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#4 Ice Cream: This is my favorite summer time treat. I would never turn down the offer to go out for ice cream.

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#5 Greecie Girl Headbands: Love, love, love these headbands. I wear these all year but would never exercise without them in the summer for sure. They stay where I put them, never slip, and can hold up to every activity I do. I have worn them on the river, trail, and at the gym. They come in a variety of great colors and patterns which is always a fun way to spice up any workout. Check them out here http://greeciegirlheadbands.com/

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#6 Vitalyte: We are an active family and replacement fluids are a big part of our summer. We go through gallons or Gatorade and Vitalyte.

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#7 Nalgene Cozy: Nothing drives me crazier than a sweaty water bottle that leaves puddles everywhere I set it down. Since I take my Nalgene water bottle everywhere with me I splurged on a Nalgene cozy with no regrets.

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#8 Clotheslines: Nothing says summer like fresh hung laundry and bedding.

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#9 Cool Summer Salads and Sushi: The last thing I want to do after spending the day outside is come in and prepare a hot dinner. So summer salads and sushi is rotated quite often on our weekly menu.

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#10 Our Kayaks: You all knew this one would be on the list, right? None of us could live without our kayaks and some paddling fun.

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What is something essential to you in the summer months?